The 2018–19 school year is just about complete. Frederick County high school graduates have crossed the stage, earned their diplomas and are ready to move on to future educational opportunities, lifelong careers and productive citizenship. Many of those young men and women will carry with them fond memories of the past four years and the lessons learned along the way. Those students who participated in the sports programs at their schools will likely have developed a special bond with teammates that will stay with them throughout their adult lives, a bond that only comes through sharing common challenges and reaching common goals. They learned about the importance of team.

It was just about 56 years ago that I walked across a similar stage at Annapolis High School. I don’t remember much about the ceremony, but I do know that I felt a great appreciation for the positive experiences that I had been afforded. I had formed friendships that would last a lifetime and had a whole stockpile of stories to tell the grandchildren. Over a half-century later, I still get together with several old Panther football teammates and reminisce about those glory days.

This year’s Frederick County athletes will have their own memories and stories to tell. As has come to be expected, they have achieved great success in the competitive arena, classroom and community. Our local athletes can look back with pride at nine team state championships won, another 12 state finalists, and 47 individual state titles earned in nine sports.

To be the best in the state of Maryland is no small accomplishment. It took a commitment to mastering the fundamentals of their sport, the willingness to trust in the knowledge of their coaches and the acceptance of the “team first” principle. With that in mind, “Coach’s Corner” would like to recognize those athletes who achieved at the highest level.

Team State Champions

Fall Sports: Class 2A football, Oakdale; 4A/3A golf, Urbana; 2A boys soccer, Oakdale.

Winter Sports: 3A girls basketball, Frederick; 4A girls indoor track and field, Urbana; 3A boys indoor track and field, Linganore; 2A boys indoor track and field, Oakdale.

Spring Sports: 4A girls track and field, Urbana; 2A boys track and field, Oakdale.

Oakdale led the way with four team titles, followed by Urbana’s three. To show the depth of high-quality programs that exists in Frederick County, nine of 10 schools had appeared in a state championship game or had produced at least one individual champion this year.

Individual State Champions

Fall Sports: 4A boys cross country, Michael Belmaggio (Lingnaore).

Winter Sports: 4A girls indoor track — Ella Auderset (Urbana) 500-meter dash; Payton Bohrer (Urbana) pole vault; 3A girls indoor track, Jada Sobratti (Frederick), 55 dash; Dardlie Lefevre (Tuscarora) 300 dash. 1A girls indoor track — Emma Strickland (Catoctin), 800 run; Amy Tarcza, Elizabeth Williams, Michelle Cincotta, Jena Rhodes (Brunswick), 4x800 relay; 3A boys indoor track — Joey Felton (Linganore), 55 dash; Michael Belmaggio (Linganore), 3,200; Colby Bannon (Linganore), high jump; Carter Holsinger (Linganore), pole vault; 2A boys indoor track — Kyle Lund (Oakdale), 800, 1600; Erik Starks (Oakdale), pole vault; 1A boys indoor track — Jackson Tuomey (Brunswick), pole vault; 4A/3A girls diving — Jessica Buntman (Linganore); 3A wrestling — Earl Blake (Linganore), 132 pounds; Michael Bromley (Linganore), 182 pounds; 4A wrestling — Kevin Makosy (Urbana) 195 pounds.

Spring Sports: 2A girls tennis — Rani Jones (Oakdale), singles; 4A girls track and field — Ella Auderset (Urbana), 800, 4x400 relay; Susannah Auderset, Karly McDonnell, Piper Jons (Urbana), 4x400 relay; 3A girls track and field — Sobratti, 100; Jordan Johnson, Aliyah Hopper, Haley Stevenson (Tuscarora), 4x100 relay; Lefevre, 4x100 relay, long jump; Paige Tolbard (Frederick), discus; 3A boys track and field — Belmaggio, 3,200m; Holsinger, pole vault; Jordan Addison (Tuscarora), long jump; Gerald Norgbe (Frederick), triple jump; 2A boys track and field — Lund. 800, 1600m, 4x800 relay; Lee Goodson, Nicholas Stokes, Collin Dempsey (Oakdale), 4x800 relay; Starks, pole vault; 1A boys track and field — Tuomey, pole vault.

Congratulations to all of these fine athletes who won the gold. Congratulations to every athlete who was brave enough to compete. You made your coaches and parents proud.

But not everyone in sports can win the gold medal. Every team sets out to win championships, but there are obstacles that have to be overcome. The great life lesson learned from participating in sports is that you get to experience what famous sportscaster Jim McKay used to call “the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.” Your teammates are your sisters/brothers. You have faced the challenges together. Like the Old Coach, those teammates will always be a part of you.

And congratulations to members of the band, the FFA, the cheerleaders, the pom-poms, drama students, club members, etc., and every student who participated in some extracurricular activity. You, too, have put in the time and effort to excel in your field.

Isn’t that what we want our graduates to take away from their high school experience? It’s the American Way: TEAMWORK. Together, we can achieve.

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